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Being Afraid (bad) vs. Feeling the Fear (good)



Being afraid and feeling the fear are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Understanding that changed my life.


BEING AFRAID


When I am afraid (as opposed to when I am feeling the fear) I become a quivering bowl of jelly. It debilitates me. 


It easily becomes chronic. Chronic anxiety happens when I am afraid. When the fear “is” what I am, I’m f**ked. That’s who I am so that fear is with me always. I can work to cope with being afraid, which can help. It can help a lot. But, I’m still stuck with who I am, namely afraid. I don’t sleep well.


FEELING THE FEAR


When I feel the fear, there are a lot of good things that happen.


First, I am responsive. I didn’t develop the evolutionary response to potential danger called fear so I could become a quivering bowl of jelly. I developed it so I could jump out of the way of a falling tree, outrun the forest fire, and exhibit superhuman strength in an emergency. When I welcome it, feeling it, I snap to attention.


Also, when I feel the fear, it passes. The fear comes. I feel it in my body. (It would be more accurate to say I observe it arising and existing in my body. It’s the body that feels the fear, not I.) Then, after the roller coaster ride is done, my body naturally returns to equilibrium. I love that feeling. It’s like I’ve been cleaned, like a newly detailed car. I sleep well that night.


[Animals demonstrate the way fear passes all the time. Here’s a short conversation with my brilliant coaching colleague and dog trainer Iris Grimm on that subject.]


Most  importantly, when I feel the fear, I engage life. It’s invigorating. It stretches me. It strengthens me. I am present. I welcome and enjoy the awesomeness of this precious moment in my life. 


That’s a whole lot better than a quivering bowl of jelly.


[This was inspired by the teaching of Eric Baret. Thank you.]

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